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Full text of "My country and my people"

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WOMAN'S  LIFE                    163
by altering them we alter the whole outlook of life.
Modern girls are subjected to current ridicule in Chinese magazines for their superficialities, their love of luxury, and their loss of industry and other domestic virtues. For apparently the influence of Mae West is greater than that of Mary Wollstonecraft. The fact is, there are two types of girls: those who figure so prominently in city life, and the more serious-minded and intellectual ones who are not in such prominence and who disappear into good homes. Some of the politically prominent women who court publicity are the worst scoundrels of their sex; they therefore do not represent modern Chinese womanhood. On the whole., these modern influences must be taken as liberalizing influences working for the good of Chinese womanhood and therefore of the race. The first important effect is on the girl's physique. The exposure of female thighs in athletic contests, so much regretted by the older generation, must in the end work for the good of the nation. With the development of physique comes a more naturally graceful movement than the boudoir-cultivated movements of the bound feet.
Consequent upon this physical change is a change in the ideal of female beauty, from the repressed quietness of former days to the more natural sprightliness of a human being, approaching that of European ladies. For it does one good to hear women laugh a hearty laugh, and it is better than to hear them giggle. The artificial restraint and over-sexualization of women under Confucianism must give place to a more human view, and can no longer come back. The danger is rather of desexualization and of the total loss of the womanly woman. The idea of women trying to ape men in their manners is in itself a sign of women's bondage. Let women be proud of their own sex, for only in the fulfilment of their sex and its grave responsibilities will they be truly great. Compared with the Western women, the modern mature Chinese women are still perhaps more poised and dignified, but they lack, on the other hand, the spontaneity and spirit of independence of their Western sisters. Perhaps it is in their blood, but if so, let it be as it is, for only by being true to their race can they be great a so